My first trip to Baron’s Court theatre was an interesting experience. Being a huge fan of Neil LaBute, I was very excited to see Olivia Rowe’s production of the somewhat disturbing three short plays that comprise ‘Bash.’
The disturbance lies in the content of the brilliantly written pieces. ‘Iphigenia in Orem’, is a very provocative monologue that takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of the human psyche and how simply people can be driven to commit very disturbing acts. ‘A gaggle of saints’ and ‘Medea Redux’ ride on a similar theme of twisted logic and the taboos of murder, provoking the audience to look at themselves and their inherent prejudices and ‘what would I do in that situation?’
I certainly have moments where I think very bizarre thoughts, luckily I never act on them but the amazing thing about Neil Labute’s writing is it does present me with the idea of ‘What if I did?’ What is more, how we’re all capable of these things, so what is it that stops us? Thus, I hope instilling in human kind a renewed sense of humanity and love.
Soap box over, as you can imagine I couldn’t wait to see these plays performed. If I’m brutally honest, I was a little disappointed. I felt that ‘Iphigenia’ lacked a certain depth or variety. Understandably, the choice was made to keep the character very matter of fact and functioning, however I did feel that it lacked anything else. The character was protrayed in this vein for the entire monologue, rendering the delivery somewhat one-level. Saying that, there were moments when James Le Feuvre’s delivery was very moving. I’m not sure addressing the chair was a great idea in terms of stage picture, as the tendency is always to talk to the top of the chair which naturally sent James’ eyeline down, thus cutting off the opportunity to share.
Faye Winter is a very exciting actress with a brilliant sense of delivery and pace. What is more, her instincts were spot on everytime and the chemistry between the two characters was forged really well.
All in all, the pleasure was in the writing which to any actor is a gift and to any audience a thrill. My thrill was in the writing but unfortunately not so much in the performance.
Performed at the Barons Court Theatre until the 17th June.